Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) (Employment)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claimants have signed a waiver outlining any previous communication with a political representative regarding benefits before accessing appeals information since that policy was introduced.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

At no point during a Universal Credit claim does the Department ask a person to sign a waiver. To safeguard the sensitive and personal data we hold about people’s Universal Credit claims, we ask representatives making enquiries on behalf of others to demonstrate that they have claimant consent. This is a simple process, which can be completed online or by telephone by the claimant, and has been in place since 2017.

The Universal Credit system is structured around an online personal account which contains all the information relevant to the claim. This can include details about: bank accounts, savings, capital, medical history and family relationships, in addition to third parties including landlords and employers. Therefore, we need to ensure a high level of security and protection exists to combat unscrupulous individuals and organisations who try to access the information and seek to impersonate genuine representatives.

The Department is continuing to work with Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) and third party organisations to understand how Universal Credit can support organisations who help our claimants. We are committed to having processes in place which effectively supports claimants to access our services, but which also protects information.

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